'Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' Rape Scene Makes Movie Hard to Watch

rooney maraIt seems like everyone is buzzing with excitement over the new movie, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Except me. Don't get me wrong -- when I read Stieg Larsson's book years ago, I thought it was brilliant. I was glued to it until the final, bitter end. I'm sure the movie is a faithful and gripping adaptation of the novel. I hear Rooney Mara is fantastic. I loved the bad-ass character, Lisbeth Salander. And I would love another excuse to stare at Daniel Craig for a couple of hours. But I just can't do it.

Why? I'll tell you. AWFUL, SCARY RAPE SCENE ON THE BIG SCREEN! Lisbeth's rape was one of the most shocking scenes of the book and it's taken years for me to bury those images in my mind. I don't want to see it again -- and I especially don't want to see it with real actors and larger than life. I know it's just make-believe, but it's just too creepy.


I know Lisbeth gets her revenge on her attacker. Believe me, when you read about her counter-attack, it's deeply satisfying! And I hear the rape scene is done sensitively. Uh, whatever that means. I guess. That doesn't make me feel any better. I still don't want to watch.

I have to admit, I'm ambivalent about rape scenes in books and movies -- even when they're well intentioned, even if they're used to show how awful a villain is, or it's a set-up for a comeuppance. I'm not opposed to writers including rape scenes to tell a story. That those scenes are so emotionally powerful shows that most of us recognize rape as horrific and unacceptable. I just don't want to watch.

Life is stressful on its own. We have the real-life stories of protesting women in Egypt being stripped and beaten in the streets. There's another image I can't get out of my head: that woman in the blue bra being dragged through the streets, one giant boot about to stomp on her exposed belly. I can barely take the news. So go watch The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo for me. Tell me all about how thrilling it is, and how satisfied you feel by the ending. I'll be in the theater next door, watching rated-PG Hugo. That's just enough dark for me.

Are you planning to see Girl With the Dragon Tattoo? 


Image via dragontattoo.com

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